Some of you must have noticed some wired circles in my Instagram posts and at the bottom of blog posts wondered what are those about.
Time to reveal the secret.
I am doing a drawing course, a cartoon drawing course to be more precise, and our first assignment is to draw circles. Circle-y-circles as they call them. Three times a day, for five minutes each time.
Not only we are to draw circles but we are to share them as well on social media. That is the commitment. And I am fully on-board with it. This particular course uses the old Eastern (and Renaissance) teaching methodology where repetition and incremental learning is used to bring the expertise.
As some of you might be aware that I wanted to learn drawing for some time now. I tried to do it myself, by trying to do a sketch a day, but it didn’t last long. Now with this course, within five days I have made so much progress.
While writing is my main vocation, drawing is my side project. Side projects are very important to unleash creativity. Because they are done for fun they bring out the playfulness much easily than our passion where we tend to behave like a martyr.
Austin Kleon wrote in his book How to Steal Like an Artist:
One thing I have learned in my brief career: It’s the side projects that really take off. By side projects I mean the stuff that you thought was just messing arouod. Stuff that’s just play. That’s actually the good stuff. That’s when the magic happens.[…]
It is good to have a few projects going at a time, then when you get stuck on something with one, you can jump on to the next one. This is called ‘productive procrastination.’
Hobbies are other things that are beneficial to unleash creativity. A hobby is something creative that you do just for yourself. You don’t try to make it your vocation or get famous for it. It is something that gives you pleasure and helps you unwind.
There is no one better than Stephen Duneier to talk about hobbies. He tells a story about when he got into knitting on his wife’s suggestion.
He was not that passionate initially, but one day while sitting underneath a forty feet tall eucalyptus tree he had a thought, “that tree would look really cool covered in yarn.”
At that time he didn’t know there was any such thing called yarn-bombing where people wrap public structures with yarn. This is what he exactly did. In 82 days he finished his first project of yarn-bombing.
He got so hooked that he kept going with bigger more ambitious projects that required engineering skills and the use of different materials such as fiberglass and metal.
He ended up wrapping 18 boulders and the whole of TMC Children’s Hospital in Southern Arizona.
The moral of the story is if you haven’t got a side project or a hobby, it is time to start one.
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